Since 1951, Colorado has partnered with and benefited from WICHE through regional collaboration, resource-sharing, sound public policy, and innovation.


Download the factsheet for Colorado here.




by Colorado students through WICHE Student Access Programs


through WUE


through WRGP


through PSEP

WICHE’s Student Access Programs

WICHE operates three Student Access Programs that together saved nearly 50,000 students $580+ million in 2022-23. Each program supports students at each level of postsecondary education: undergraduate, graduate, and professional healthcare studies.

  • Students gain from increased choice and savings.
  • Schools gain by optimizing enrollments.
  • States and Pacific Island members gain by growing the skills of those they serve and strengthening their workforce.

I am incredibly thankful for PSEP. Colorado State University offers challenging classes, hands-on instruction with both large and small animals, and opportunities to meet and learn from well recognized researchers and clinicians. My time here will prepare me well for my career in veterinary medicine, thanks to Montana’s participation in WICHE’s PSEP.

CLAIRE, Montana resident, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Colorado State University

Improving Lives in Colorado

WICHE works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Learn more about our mission.

WICHE brings together senior academic leaders to foster dialogue about issues facing individual institutions through its leadership and professional development networks.


  •   Aims Community College
  • Arapahoe Community College
  •  Colorado Community College System
  •  Colorado Northwestern Community College
  •   Community College of Aurora
  •   Community College of Denver
  •   Front Range Community College
  •  Lamar Community College
  •  Morgan Community College
  •  Northeastern Junior College
  •  Otero Junior College
  •  Pikes Peak Community College
  •  Pueblo Community College
  •   Red Rocks Community College
  •   Trinidad State College


  •   Metropolitan State University of Denver
  •   Colorado State University
  •   Colorado State University – Pueblo

Laura Niesen de Abruña, Metropolitan State University of Denver, will serve as a primary faculty member for the Academy as of July 2024.

WESTERN ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP ACADEMY is a year-long professional development program for academic leaders aspiring to become chief academic officers in the WICHE region. Twelve cohort members from Colorado institutions have participated in the Academy since its inception in 2015.

Thanks to collaboration with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC), one of four U.S. regional higher education compacts, WICHE-region educational institutions, nonprofits, and public education entities can benefit from three programs: MHECtech, which provides competitively bid purchasing contracts for an array of hardware, software, and technology services; MHECare, which provides a student health insurance plan and teletherapy services; and a MHEC Cyber Insurance Program, which offers risk transfer and advisory solutions. Learn more.

Colorado participates in the STATE AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT (SARA) through WICHE. This voluntary agreement provides reciprocity for the state authorization of distance education.

WICHE ACADEMY FOR LEADERS IN THE HUMANITIES is a leadership development program for aspiring academic leaders with a background in the humanities. The two-year fellowship consists of campus-based and external mentoring, a three-day in-person seminar, and an extended project. Tina Butterfield, Western Colorado University, and Thomas Dunn, Colorado State University, are participating in the 2023-25 cohort.

WICHE Behavioral Health Program (BHP) administers the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). In Colorado, the RCORP program supports three grantees across four sites: Memorial Hospital, San Luis Valley Area Health, and Gunnison County.

The BHP Together With Veterans Program, focused on reducing Veteran suicides, also has two sites in Colorado, one in the San Luis Valley and one in Morgan County (Brush), serving more than 2,000 rural Veterans combined.

Knocking at the College Door is the leading U.S. resource for projections of college-ready students. Knocking, which includes a quadrennial publication with additional analysis, is essential for postsecondary policymakers, planning and workforce efforts, and economic development.

WICHE offers curated data and policy resources to support better-informed decision-making:

CHIEF ACADEMIC OFFICERS NETWORK Staff from the Colorado Department of Higher Education also participate in regular collaborative calls with colleagues around the region.

WCET- The WICHE Cooperative for Education Technologies is the leader in practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. The University of Colorado System, Colorado Community College System, and 22 other institutions and organizations are WCET members.

Erika Swain, University of Colorado Boulder, serves on the WCET Steering Committee. Mordecai Ian Brownlee, Community College of Aurora, serves on the WCET Executive Council.

Additionally, Aims Community College,  American Sentinel College of Nursing & Health Science at Post University,  Colorado School of Mines,  Colorado Technical University,  Regis University & OCICU,  University of Colorado – Boulder,  University of Colorado – Colorado Springs,  University of Colorado – Denver,  University of Colorado System, and the  University of Northern Colorado are members of the State Authorization Network (SAN), which helps guide institutions through state regulations around online courses and programs.

WICHE has convened the OERWest Network, which is part of a nationwide collaborative to scale the development and adoption of free course materials. Open educational resources (OER) have shown promise in improving student outcomes, particularly for poverty-affected students, for whom the high cost of textbooks can be a barrier to postsecondary success.

WICHE Commissioners

*indicates Executive Committee member

Jim Chavez

Executive Director, Community College of Denver Foundation and Governmental Affairs

* Antwan Jefferson

WICHE Chair, Associate Dean for EDI and Clinical Associate Professor, University of Colorado Denver

Angie Paccione

Executive Director, Colorado Department of Higher Education

Legislative Advisory Committee

Jennifer Bacon

Representative, Colorado State Legislature

Dafna Michaelson Jenet

Representative, Colorado State Legislature